CITY OF WANAMINGO
City Council Regular Meeting
Monday, January 8, 2024 7:00 P.M.
Wanamingo City Council Chambers – 401 Main Street
CALL TO ORDER: Mayor Holmes.
PRESENT: Council: Ryan Holmes, Stuart Ohr, Eric Dierks, and Rebecca Haugen
City Administrator: Michael Boulton
Deputy Clerk: Karen Masters
ABSENT: Council: Jeremiah Flotterud
ALSO PRESENT: Brad Kennedy, Beth Haas – Zumbrota News-Record, and Andrew Deziel – Kenyon Leader.
ADOPT AGENDA: Ohr motioned to adopt the agenda, seconded by Haugen. Passed 5-0-0.
CONSENT AGENDA: Dierks motioned, seconded by Haugen. Passed 4-0-0.
A) Brad Kennedy reported on:
1) Sanded the intersections and inclines on a couple of light snow falls
2) Rented a lift to trim trees. Were able to make lift work to trim a couple of limbs off cottonwood in Riverside Park. However, the lift did not work to trim additional tree trimming along the South side of 440th Street. May have to rent a larger and more expensive lift to complete this task in the future.
3) Rebuilt walking bridge between the ball field parking lot and Hill Circle. The braces were significantly enhanced and decking replaced all with new treated lumber.
4) Holiday banners were taken down on Main Street. Will not be installing the newer City of Wanamingo banners due to the plastic material used to make them does not bend or stretch well in cold weather. Staff will wait for warmer weather in March or April to put the new logo banners back up.
5) Starting to work on trimming trees along the Nature Trail path. Once trimmed the branches will be mulched along the trail.
6) Working on cleaning out the shop and livery barn. Have taken a couple of loads of scrap metal to recycle.
7) Identified a list of ten locations where there are double electric/utility poles. Xcel Energy has placed a few new poles around Wanamingo over the past five years. Xcel removed most of the old poles except for those where other utilities have their equipment. The City requested that this equipment be moved to the new poles so that Xcel Energy can remove the old poles. The City contacted Midco and Frontier to remove their equipment from these pole locations.
Administrator Boulton provided a memo regarding the need for traffic control in the form of additional stop signs in Prairie Ridge Estates. The City Council/Staff have discussed replacement of several stop signs within Prairie Ridge Estates development over the past few years. The development had only four homes constructed in spring 2018 and now has 39 constructed as of January 2024. The list of proposed new stop signs include:
9th Street/Tall Grass Lane (East Entrance) - Install stop sign and remove yield sign on Tall Grass Lane
9th Street/Tall Grass Lane (West Entrance) – Install stop sign and remove yield sign on Tall Grass Land
Tall Grass Court/Tall Grass Lane - Install stop sign leaving Tall Grass Court
7th Avenue/Prairie Ridge Lane – Install stop sign on 7th Avenue
9th Street/Prairie Ridge Lane – Install Stop sign on Prairie Ridge Lane
There was discussion for signs at other locations around town. However, these locations do not require additional signage currently. The City staff recommends that the City Council hold a public hearing for new stop signs. Wanamingo has authority to place signs per M.S. 160.02, 169.04 and 169.06 subd. 3. The Wanamingo City Code (74.04) says that the Council must approve, through resolution, any new placements of stop or yield signs. The Council should instruct the City Administrator to post a notice in the official newspaper and place the notice on the City website and Facebook pages. The Council could then hold a public hearing at the February 12th City Council meeting to hear comments from the public. Once comments are considered, the Council could consider approval of a resolution for all, some, or none of the recommended additions of signs. Kennedy stated that the entrance to Prairie Ridge Estates at 9th Street and Prairie Ridge Lane is the worst location now that there are thirty-nine homes. Kennedy stated that the increased traffic can lead to confusion on who has the right-of-way. Kennedy stated that the posts were already in place and just needed the signs installed. Dierks stated that he was in support of a public hearing to see what residents think of the plan. Holmes stated that he has concerns with traffic control at the proposed locations, with 9th Street and Prairie Ridge Lane the highest priority. Boulton stated that he would proceed with publishing the public hearing notice in the newspaper and Facebook page for a hearing and resolution consideration at the February 12th City Council meeting.
24-001 = Approving 2024 Appointments & Legals: Dierks moved to approve, Seconded by Ohr. Boulton explained that 4M was added to the Financial Consultants. Passed 4-0-0.
24-002 = Setting 2024 City Council Meeting Schedule: Haugen moved to approve, Seconded by Dierks. Passed 4-0-0.
24-003 = Authorizing Temporary Liquor License for the Fire Relief Association snowmobile run: Ohr moved to approve, Seconded by Haugen. Passed 4-0-0.
24-004 = Approving 2024 Updated Wanamingo Emergency Management Plan: Haugen moved to approve, Seconded by Ohr. Boulton stated that he and Gregg Erickson, the Wanamingo Civil Defense Director, had reviewed and made the necessary changes. The changes were mainly in the contacts and contact information. Passed 4-0-0.
24-005 = Authorizing a Temporary Gambling Permit for the Wanamingo Fire Relief Association: Ohr moved to approve, Seconded by Dierks. Passed 4-0-0.
24-006 = Approving Financial Authorization: Dierks moved to approve, seconded by Ohr. Passed 4-0-0.
24-007 = Accepting Wanamingo Fire Relief Association Charitable Gambling Donations and Designating Funds: Ohr moved to approve, seconded by Haugen. Passed 4-0-0.
24-008 =Approving a One-Time Contribution to the Wanamingo Fire Relief Association Retirement Fund from the General Fund: Dierks moved to approve, Seconded by Haugen. Passed 4-0-0.
Administrator Boulton provided a memo regarding the Personnel Committee’s recommended changes to the Personnel Policy. The Minnesota Legislature passed a law in 2023 that requires employers set up specific requirements for Earned Sick and Safe Time (ESST). The requirements go into effect January 1, 2024. The City needs to make changes to the Wanamingo Personnel Policy to conform to the new requirements. The City has waited to see how other Cities are handling the new requirements in order to model Wanamingo’s Personnel Policy changes. There are now a few samples for Earned Sick and Safe Time (ESST) policies to look at. We have reviewed area Cities Earned Sick and Safe Time (ESST) policies, including the City of Pine Island’s as samples.
The City of Wanamingo has two options; either get rid of the current sick time and go to Earned Sick and Safe Time (ESST) or keep the sick time and add an Earned Sick & Safe Time (ESST). There is concern that the employees could lose the accrued sick time. So, to comply with the new law, it is recommended to create two sick time tiers. First it is recommended to create an Earned Sick & Safe Time with the minimums set by State law of 80 hours for full-time employees and 1 hour for every 30 hours worked for part-time employees. The 80 hours for full-time employees and accumulated part-time hours need to be used in the year earned. Secondly, it is recommended to modify the sick time section by reducing the 4 hours per pay period down to 2 hours per pay period earned. It is recommended to keep the maximum accrued hours to 1,040 hours of sick time. The City sick time will go from having 104 hours accrued in one year (4 hours times 26 pay periods) to 52 hours accrued in one year (2 hours times 26 pay periods). However, there will now be an additional 80 hours of Earned Sick & Safe Time, totaling 132 hours earned in a year. The difference is that only 52 hours are eligible to be banked for future years.
Once approved, City staff will work with payroll software company to switch the sick time accrual from 4 hours each pay period to 2 hours. City staff will also work to set up an Earned Sick & Safe Time for employees. Full-time employees will automatically bank 80 hours at the beginning of the year. Part-time employees earn 1 hour of accrued Earned Sick & Safe Time for every 30 hours worked, banking up to 48 hours. Full-time employees Earned Sick & Safe Time will be reset to 80 hours each year.
24-009 =Approving a Proposed Update to the Wanamingo Personnel Policy: Haugen moved to approve, seconded by Dierks. Passed 4-0-0.
24-010 = Approving a Professional Service Agreement with WHKS on Engineering for the 2024 Roadway and Utility Improvements Project: Dierks moved to approve, Seconded by Haugen. Passed 4-0-0.
24-011 = Approving Preliminary Development Agreement with Wanamingo Economic Development Authority for the City of Wanamingo and First Link LLC (Dollar General): Haugen moved to approve, Seconded by Ohr. Boulton stated that the wetland delineation process and land purchase by Dollar General will hold up the eventual Development Agreement and bidding for the Roadway and Utility Improvements Project. Ohr asked why either could not be done sooner. Boulton stated that the wetland delineation can only occur in spring. Boulton stated that it was in Dollar General’s plan not to execute the purchase agreement on the land until April May. Passed 4-0-0.
24-012 = Approving the Appointment of Election Judges for the 2024 Presidential Nomination Primary Election: Haugen moved to approve, Seconded by Dierks. Holmes thanked all election judges that signed up to assist in the election process within the City of Wanamingo. Passed 4-0-0.
24-013 = Accepting Wanamingo Lions Stainless-Steel Countertop Donation for the Wanamingo Community Center: Haugen moved to approve, Seconded by Ohr. Passed 4-0-0.
Public Hearing – Mayor Holmes opened Ordinance #204 – Renewing Northern State Power Company (Xcel Energy) Electric Franchise Agreement Hearing at 7:32PM. Administrator Boulton explained that the current 20-year Franchise agreement with Xcel Energy is expiring and needs to be renewed. Boulton stated that the current franchise agreement is coming to an end. Boulton stated that there was language requiring Xcel Energy to move their lines, at their costs, when City infrastructure needs to be installed or moved. No Additional Public Comments Offered. Mayor Holmes closed the public hearing at 7:37PM.
ORDINANCE #204 – Renewing Northern State Power Company (Xcel Energy) Electric Franchise Agreement – 2nd Reading – Ohr moved to approve, seconded by Dierks. Passed 4-0-0.
Public Hearing - Mayor Holmes opened Ordinance #205 - 2024 Fee Schedule Hearing at 7:37PM. Administrator Boulton went over the proposed changes from 2023 Fee Schedule for the proposed 2024 fee schedule including increasing the water meter cost from $340 to $360, increasing the water debt service/ base fee from $25/month to $26/month, increasing the sewer debt service/base fee from $22.00/month to $28.00/month, increasing bulk water from $7.00/1,000 gallons to $15.00/1,000 gallons, increasing the monthly garbage fee from $16.25/month to $16.50/month, and increasing the monthly recycling fee from $6.65/month to $6.85/month. The increase to the water meter fee helps to cover increases to the actual costs of the water meters and readers. Boulton stated that the proposed monthly water base rate/debt service fee increase of $1.00/month to water for each hook-up would bring in roughly $7,000/year more for water in 2024. Boulton stated that the proposed monthly sewer base rate/debt service fee increase of $6.00/month to each hook-up would bring in roughly $43,000 in new revenue in 2024. The bulk water proposed increase reflects the staff time to set up a meter on a hydrant for the bulk user. The garbage and recycling monthly increase reflect the yearly contract increases with Waste Management. Throughout the year, including the budgeting process, the Council has discussed and has recommended the above changes. The City Auditors recommend that the Council review sewer/water rates and make small adjustments regularly to capture revenue as opposed to large jumps. The wastewater treatment plant will need upgrades in the near future which could cost millions of dollars. No Additional Public Comments Offered. Mayor Holmes closed the public hearing at 7:41PM.
Ordinance #205 - 2024 Fee Schedule - 2nd Reading - Ohr moved to approve, seconded by Haugen. Passed 4-0-0.
Administrator Boulton presented the 2023 Wanamingo Outstanding Indebtedness Report. The Wanamingo EDA paid $27,000 in principle in 2023 and owes $298,000 at the beginning of 2024. The City paid $609,000 in principal in 2023 and owes $5,066,000 at the beginning of 2024. Boulton stated that the current debt service is manageable with the interest rates associated with the existing bonds. Boulton stated that the City has roughly $130,000 of debt service capacity available for 2024 with additional capacity available in 2025 ($90,000), 2027 ($93,000), and 2028 ($53,000). The plan would be to issue new debt in the coming years to pay for infrastructure and equipment needs. Boulton stated that the City paid $636,000 in principle and roughly $123,420.95 in interest in 2023. The report will be submitted to Goodhue County next week, according to the MN State Statutes.
Enforcement Process – Mead Johnson - Reckitt – 30 day written letter toward meeting goal of waste pH – Holmes stated that the City had received a letter from Mead Johnson – Reckitt outlining work that had been done, to date, since April 2023 to present including conducting plant inspection, wastewater mapping validation and chemical consumption, installed 24-hour pH sampler, onsite tracking of pH levels and reporting to City, using contractor to clean out solids in sewer pipelines in June and October 2023, and modification of sedimentation process. Mead Johnson – Reckitt is continuing pH monitoring, cleaning of the pipes, and pH adjustment of the hydration wastewater discharge. In the long term they are designing a pH monitor and treatment station. They are also working toward design and installation of a new lift station with pH treatment. Boulton stated that the Wanamingo staff are still monitoring the wastewater discharge from Reckitt-Mead Johnson. The results are improving but have regularly shown extremely low and at times high pH levels along with the presence of high levels of QAC (Quaternary Ammonium Compounds) have been sent to Reckitt-Mead Johnson. The pH levels should be within 5.0 and 9.5. City Staff have been working with Reckitt-Mead Johnson toward a solution to bring the pH levels within the limits. The City appreciates the open dialogue and work, to date, from Reckitt- Mead Johnson. During April-November the Wanamingo wastewater treatment plant operations have failed several months of State treatment discharge limits. City staff have attempted several potential trouble shooting options. A comprehensive list of staff actions was provided in December 2023 to the Council. After numerous corrective action steps, the South side digester of the facility coming from the community wastewater discharge is running excellent. However, the Reckitt-Mead Johnson diverted wastewater discharge to the North side digester continues to show operational problems seemingly due to consistent low pH levels. There are signs of microbiological life which may help take off operations in the coming month in the north side digester. The City has kept the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency informed during this process. The City is required to be within the discharge limits or show significant steps toward getting back under the discharge limits. The formal notice step to Reckitt-Mead Johnson outlining timeline to correct the pH violations has helped the MPCA. A site visit is planned later in the winter or spring. Boulton noted that the plan does not meet the 90-day enforcement letter. Holmes stated that Reckitt – Mead Johnson will need to continually monitor the pH levels to adjust when discharging into the sewer plant. Kennedy stated that if the Council agrees to the timeframe laid out by Reckitt – Mead Johnson that they need to be held accountable. Boulton stated the Enforcement Process would be left on the monthly agenda until August 2024, or when the action items are completed. Holmes asked if pH levels and QAC levels were better in the past month. Kennedy stated that both had improved but they need to continue to stay improved to help with the operations of the wastewater treatment facility. Ohr asked what the Council could/should do if the pH levels on Mead Johnson – Reckitt wastewater are significantly out of the 5.0 and 9.5 levels. Boulton stated that the Council could act in the form of fines and if significant, could shut down wastewater discharge until corrected. Ohr asked if Mead Johnson – Reckitt will be sent an invoice for the operation damage caused at the wastewater treatment facility since April 2023. Boulton stated that that there was no intention to invoice or send fines to Mead Johnson – Reckitt at this time. Kennedy stated that it was difficult to say the Mead Johnson – Reckitt was the only source of wastewater operation issues during this time period. The City has only been monitoring pH levels (since April 2023) and QAC levels (since August 2023). Kennedy stated that the City only has data and authority to fine off pH levels. Haugen moved to approve Mead Johnson – Reckitt corrective action plan and for the City staff to continue to monitor pH and QAC levels, seconded by Ohr. Passed 4-0-0.
Boulton stated that the annual City Council/Staff Appreciation Dinner would be held on Saturday February 3rd. The event will be held at Area 57 Café with social hour starting at 6:00PM and dinner at 7:00PM. Boulton stated that formal invites would be sent out later in the week.
*Fire Department/Township/City Annual Meeting is on 2/5/2024 at 6:30pm
*Next City Council meeting on 2/12/2024 at 7:00pm.
Adjourn: At 7:56PM a motion to adjourn was made by Ohr and seconded by Haugen. Passed 4-0-0.
Ryan Holmes, Mayor Michael Boulton, City Administrator